Woody Biomass Harvest for Habitat Restoration

tub grinder

Tub grinder in operation. Kelleher Park, City of Burnsville.

Barb Spears, Project Coordinator
1200 Warner Road
St. Paul, MN 55106

Project Purpose

Woody Biomass Harvest for Habitat Restoration (also called Linking Habitat Restoration to Bioenergy) is an innovative new pilot project that unites two separate but linked aspects of environmental health: habitat restoration and bioenergy.

Project Goals

  • Restore healthy native habitats such as prairie, oak savanna and woodlands.
  • Provide a local source of energy by utilizing woody material that is commonly burned on-site or sent to a landfill.
  • Pilot projects on a variety of types of sites (based on restoration goal, type and density of material harvested, acreage and site characteristics, distance, and land ownership) to create an information base for future biomass projects.


The Department of Natural Resources, Division of Ecological Resources (DNR) received $500,000 from the legislature as part of the 2007 environment, natural resources, energy, and commerce finance bill. The legislative funding for this project is helping to facilitate habitat restoration efforts that might not have otherwise occurred while making the woody material generated as a by-product available to facilities that convert this material to energy.

cleared buckthorn

Buckthorn not cleared. Indian Mounds Park, City of St. Paul.

cleared buckthorn

Buckthorn cleared. Indian Mounds Park, City of St. Paul.

Project Site Selection Criteria:

  • Project site(s) located within 75 miles of St. Paul by road.
  • Ecological value and recovery potential of the project site(s): priority given to sites ranked as outstanding or high by the MN County Biological Survey.
  • Conservation easements: priority given to sites protected under a conservation easement.
  • Estimated volume of harvested biomass is at least 20 semi-truckloads of ground material.
  • Suitable road and site access for equipment required to harvest, grind, and transport woody material; proposed staging area for biomass material and equipment is adequate with limited or no modifications.
  • Current Management Plan (10 years or less) that clearly articulates ecological restoration goals for the project site(s).
  • Project management services to coordinate all aspects of this project and to track and report fiscal information relating to the project.
  • Detailed Harvest Plan including a Post-Harvest Restoration Plan indicating short-term treatments, mid-term management, and long-term maintenance and monitoring.
  • Long-term commitment and resources to achieve and maintain restoration goals.

Projects Funded:

Selected Projects PDF file are funded for the cutting, moving and staging of ecologically inappropriate woody plant material for transport from the project site(s) for the purpose of ecological restoration. Compensation is on a reimbursement basis for stated deliverables under a Grant Agreement with the MN DNR.

Additional Information: